COFE Campaign -
Preparing the Future of Europe!

What is the Conference on the Future of Europe?

The COFE is a Europe-wide participatory democracy exercise focused on the future direction and legitimacy of Europe. Its goal is to understand the aspirations and needs of citizens across Europe to help adapt Europe to their needs, implement mid-long term structural reforms, and bring Europe into the 21st century after a decade of crises. In other words, an ambitious grassroots socio-political re-constitution! 

The Conference will have three levels. Find below all explanations to understand better how the conference works, and check the COFE policy process overview.

"The Conference on the Future of Europe is an opportunity. A chance to bring Europe and its citizens together by actively involving them in the process and by setting a positive precedent according to which citizen participation is more than empty talk."
- Sven Franck, Lille City Lea
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Our ideas on the COFE platform

Truly European Elections: a true reform of the EU Electoral Act

by Louis Drounau

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EU elections are currently 27 separate national elections, with limited possibility to vote on European topics. MEPs are elected from national (rarely regional) lists, and citizens vote for national candidates. As a result, campaigns focus on national issues, citizens vote on a purely national political affiliation, and MEPs feel accountable to the small fraction of voters that elect them. This entrenches the role of national politics and prevents the emergence of EU-wide movements promoting European solutions for European problems.

To solve this problem, we should have a major reform of European elections based on proven best practices that brings MEPs as close as possible to citizens, and ensures that all Europeans are given the chance to vote on common projects. This means that every European citizen should have two votes:
- one cast directly for a candidate on a local electoral district (~350 electoral districts across Europe); and
- one cast for a list covering the voter's Member States (for another 350 MEPs and a few more to ensure EU-wide party proportionality).

Crucially, direct candidates and lists will run under the name, logo and programme of a European political party.

This way, we bring MEPs as close as possible to the citizens they represent (especially MEPs elected locally who become a direct contact point for citizens) and we place European parties at the center of European elections, giving all European citizens the same political projects to choose from.

Creating a European Wealth Fund

by Teun Janssen

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A European Wealth Fund should be created to serve as the nexus for strategic investments in European and international economic activity aligning with European fundamental rights, norms and values and the global green and digital transition.

The planned use of new own resources for the EU such as a digital tax and carbon border adjustment tax, but also bold expansions to the recent precedent of Eurobonds could contribute to its funding. The Government Pension Fund of Norway is a shining example of how a transparent, independent and efficient Sovereign Fund can help political entities punch above their weight and influence normative alignments in the private sectors.

Let's learn from this best practice and make creative next steps in Europe's position as a global economic power while helping accelerate the fight against the climate crisis, digitalise our societies, and strengthen our commitment to human rights, including the protection of minorities.

An EU United Nations Security Council Seat

by Teun Janssen

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The European Union should gain a seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to better advance its interests in the world and reinforce international human rights protection, peace and security and the multilateral order.

For years, efforts at reform of the UNSC have centred around expanding the number of permanent seats to countries such as Germany, Japan, India, Brazil and two African countries.

The EU has permanent observer status at the UN without voting rights; but has had a central role in coordinating its member state delegations. Due to an increasingly unstable international climate where multilateralism and the rules-based international order are under threat, the EU should have a seat at the table of global security management in line with its quest for more strategic autonomy.

Such a UNSC seat for the EU should go hand in hand with a comprehensive reform of the UN system; including an expansion of the membership, a greater role for global democratic participation including a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, and a move away from the veto-nature of the UNSC that has paralysed the world's foremost decision making forum for international security for years.

Such an EU seat could be established by transferring the French UNSC seat to the EU, or transform the new German seat (along with the aforementioned new country additions) into an EU representation.

Source: https://www.dw.com/en/germany-has-big-plans-for-un-security-council-seat/a-46877719(Lien externe)

European History Textbook Standards

by Teun Janssen

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Every socio-political group requires a collective story, an imagined community to bind together its citizens in common cause and give it legitimacy. A shared perspective on the past is one of the crucial building blocks of such a dynamic.

Education remains a prerogative of the Member States, but wide gaps exist in both the quality of substance and length devoted to the origins of the foundation of the European Union and its rationales; the catastrophes of the 20th century, with 1945 and 1989 as key dates.

At the same time, heavy politicisation and mythification of historical truth in some Member States has reinforced diverging public perceptions and political narratives through contested historical interpretations.

Institutions such as the Platform of European Memory and Conscience and initiatives such as the HOPE observatory of the Council of Europe are examples of efforts to create a shared understanding of educating European citizens about the origins and rationales of the European project and how they connect with our potential and desired futures. Historical truth is complex and should remain a-political, while at the same time common frames of reference have to exist. Establishing a balance is key.

It would therefore be an excellent idea to create common standards on European History Textbooks in various levels of education across the EU27! Let's plant a tree of community amongst the building blocks of our common past.

A European Nuclear Deterrent

by Teun Janssen

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After Brexit, France remains the only country in the EU with an autonomous nuclear capability of around 300. While Europe should work towards a full global implementation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in the long term, it should also be able to rely on a credible nuclear deterrent in the short to medium term that is transparent, efficient and effective. European strategic autonomy.

Due to recent experiences with US ambiguities over collective defense as outlined in Article 5 of the NATO charter, the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union and renewed geopolitical tensions in the world including by systemic rivals such as Russia and China, it would be prudent to create a European-pool of the existing French nuclear deterrent capability.

Such a pool could be fully (or partially, some remaining under full French supervision) under the authority of the European Union at European Council level and with the mutual control of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

It would be the EU's prerogative to communicate its non-first strike policy, prevent the expansion of its nuclear capability, and cooperate with NATO partners. It should also lead by example in global nuclear disarmament.

This is compatible with the streamlining and ''Europeanising'' of a nuclear deterrent that protects European citizens.

Source:
https://www.elysee.fr/en/emmanuel-macron/2020/02/07/speech-of-the-president-of-the-republic-on-the-defense-and-deterrence-strategy(Lien externe)

A Federal European Republic

by Jan Birkmann

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As a peace project, the European Union has already achieved a great deal. But we must recognize that in the face of climate change, a refugee crisis, a past financial crisis and now a pandemic, it is no longer sufficiently well positioned to represent the interests of Europeans. At the same time, the individual member states are too weak to cope with the major challenges of our time.


Therefore, a federated European republic must develop from the EU with all willing states, in which all people can live according to their façon and identity and can live together!

Our events on the COFE platform

Hur tar vi EU närmare folket?/ How do we bring the EU closer to the (Swedish) citizens?

by Annette Wolff

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EU scepticism has long been widespread in Sweden and is largely based on the lack of participation in decision-making in Brussels. How can we increase citizens' involvement in European politics? How can further democratisation reduce Euroscepticism? Are European parties the future of the EU?

The event is open for all EU-interested people who would like to discuss such questions as mentioned above. We will focus on the topic from a Swedish perspective but the meeting is not limited to people living in Sweden. Everyone is welcome!

The meeting is organized by Volt Sverige, a part of the pan-European party Volt Europa which currently exists in more than 30 European countries. We are looking forward to discussing the future of Europe together with you!

What do we want?

Hold proper debates

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Conference should discuss topics in 3-month-cycles so as to ensure continued engagement and feedback on the process achieved in the institutional Conference setup. Citizens' assemblies should have the right to evaluate the outcomes of the plenary debate in addition to giving input to working groups to increase cooperation between all levels.

Citizens to set the agenda

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If we want citizens to freely decide on the Future of Europe, we should not tell them what to debate on. An online consultation should precede the start of the Conference, where citizens choose the topics of the 6 to 8 Conferences on the Future of Europe from 12 preselected policy fields.

Who should be consulted?

Local / National Citizens' Assembly

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Local and National citizens' assemblies will represent the very first tier of decision making in the conference. National citizens' assemblies should have similar rules and proportions. Composed of 200 to 300 citizens chosen by lot, they will represent the national decision on given topics. Local citizens' assemblies should have governing guidelines but should be free in their setup. National governments will be encouraged to organise local groups to facilitate citizens' participation in the conference.

Local and National assemblies should vote by consensus per working group and by simple majority in the entire group.

LCA and NCA will provide recommendations and elect representatives per topic.

European Citizens' Assembly

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200 to 300 citizens chosen by lot.

  • Fixed proportions
  • Gender balanced
  • Socio-economic background
  • National / regional representation
  • Age (e.g. 33% <30)

Conference Working Groups

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Members join 1 to 2 working groups per cycle

  • Each working group holds max. 3 people from each member group.

Conference Plenary

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Full members:

  • 75 MEPs (10% of MEPs)
  • 27 Ministers / National leaders
  • 54 National parliament members (2 per country)
  • Observers
  • 75 Mayors
  • European Economic and Social Commitee / European Committee of the Regions
  • Citizens' delegates

The COFE Campaign Team

Hannah Gohlke

Hannah Gohlke

COFE Campaign Lead

Mikolaj Buszman

Mikolaj Buszman

COFE Campaign Lead

Joachim Wilcke

Joachim Wilcke

EU Parliament Advisor

Robin Fontaine

Robin Fontaine

Policy Advisor

Emil Criscione

Emil Criscione

Volt's Way of Doing Politics

Elisabeth Friedrich

Elisabeth Friedrich

Policy Advisor - EU Reform